analysis of Lahiri’s novel The Namesake and TWO other essays

analysis of Lahiri’s novel The Namesake and TWO other essaysComparative Analysis

Purpose: This paper will give you the opportunity to bring together some themes we have discussed throughout the semester by drawing connections between multiple texts.

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 Assignment: Write an 1100 to 1300 word paper that argues for a claim based on the analysis of Lahiri’s novel The Namesake and TWO other essays from the Globalization anthology.

 Format: Double-space and paginate your paper. Use the MLA documentation style. (unless you have a strong attachment to another style of documentation, you are sure you can use that style accurately, and you receive my permission to use it.)

 Choices: You are required to write about The Namesake in this paper, but the choice of the two other essays is yours.

Argument Structure

Introduction: You must introduce The Namesake and at least one of the essays you are using in the introduction (depending on the structure of your essay you may introduce all three texts).  Although more of your analysis will be focused on the novel, it is often a good strategy to introduce a central idea from one or both of the essays first and then move toward the claim by suggesting how the novel complicates those ideas.

 Body Paragraphs: In your body paragraphs, create an active dialogue between your texts.  This does not mean that you absolutely must address all three texts in every body paragraph (or even at least two texts in all body paragraphs).  But it does mean that there should be some body paragraphs where you cite ideas from The Namesake and at least one of the other essays.  Most of the analysis will focus on the novel.

 A New Kind of Comparison: you need to make sure that you are comparing texts to support a claim and to avoid making your claim the comparison itself.  this paper involves one fictional text and two non-fiction essays.  This difference means that the essays can offer facts, terminology, or theoretical frameworks through which you can analyze the novel AND that the novel offers something that none of the essays provide – a complex representation of human psychological responses.  This contrast is significant and cannot be a claim in itself, but might help you think about how to structure a claim.

 Potential Issues to Explore (have in mind that below are some essays that I didn’t include because we didn’t discuss them in class)

You are welcome to use ideas from these examples or to develop your own topic.  You may find another link between two essays that I pair below – if so, pursue it!  Or you may pair essays that I do not pair below – that’s fine too – these examples are not meant to be all possible projects.  Note that even if you choose one of the ideas below, you need to narrow the focus and establish a specific question and claim.

1.Traves, Boroditsky, and Moushumi’s relationship to language.

  1. Golberg, Appiah and the Ganguli family as travelers.
  1. Wasserstrom, Ali, and the relationship of one or more characters to food and/or other products.
  1. Angelos, Traves, and Ashoke and Ashima’s immigrant experiences.
  1. Angelos, Guest, and immigration / happiness.

6.Appiah, Glesier, and agreeing to disagree / cross-cultural differences and conflict

  1. Leonard, Golberg, and the intersections of cultural and personal identity.
  1. Leonard, Guest, and monoculture, cultural identity, multiculturalism, and happiness.
  1. Zuckerman, Guest — Does the local bring happiness and is it a problem if it does? (Even though he has international relatives Gogol stays very local)
  1. Bures, Appiah – How does the characters’ ability to choose the right objects to fit their specific situations link with their capacity to agree to disagree with the choices of others?
  1. Bures, Guest – To what extent and/or in what ways does the capacity to choose the right objects suited to their environments affect characters’ happiness?
  1. Wasserstrom, Guest – To what extent and /or in what ways do characters’ capacity to adapt products / objects to their own cultural or personal needs affect their happiness?

Moving from Questions to Claims

For some of the above examples, I’ve only given you a cluster of ideas; for others, I have provided a potential question.  Creating a central question does not mean you have a claim since a claim must be a statement (that’s why another term for it is thesis statement).  However, questions (or problems or tensions etc.) are almost always what lead you to claims.  In some sense, your claim will be your answer to the central question that you ask.  You are welcome to use the questions from the examples above that have questions, but you are also welcome to create your own questions arising from the topic area.

Narrowing Your Focus

Since you are dealing in some way with three texts in a fairly short paper, it will be important to keep your focus specific.  For example, in many of the examples above I refer to “characters.”  By doing this, I don’t mean to suggest that you need to address all the major characters in the novel.  It is likely that if you tried to address Ashoke, Ashima, and Gogol all in detail you would need to address a very, very specific aspect of their experiences.  This approach can work, but focusing only on one of the characters can also be a great strategy.


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